Calls to expel Israeli ambassador

Bookmark and Share

UPDATED: Pro-Palestinian groups urged the Norwegian government to expel Israel’s ambassador and implement sanctions against the country, after Israel resumed attacks against the Gaza strip on Tuesday afternoon despite agreeing to a ceasefire earlier that day. Foreign Minister Børge Brende dismissed the calls, saying they were neither serious nor constructive, shortly before he was forced to flee a rocket attack in Israel. Meanwhile, Norway’s Directorate of Health recommended the government send more financial and health support to the Gaza Strip, and even consider taking in wounded Palestinians.

Palestinian supporters at a rally in May. On Tuesday pro-Palestinian groups urged Norway to expel the Israeli ambassador and implement sanctions against Israel. Foreign Minister Børge Brende dismissed the calls as non-constructive. PHOTO: Fellesutvalget for Palestina (FuP)

Palestinian supporters at a rally in May. On Tuesday pro-Palestinian groups urged Norway to expel the Israeli ambassador and implement sanctions against Israel. Foreign Minister Børge Brende dismissed the calls as non-constructive. PHOTO: Fellesutvalget for Palestina (FuP)

“Norway can not uncritically maintain close diplomatic relations with a state that does not show respect for human life, international treaties or UN conventions,” the leader of the Joint Committee for Palestine (Fellesutvalget for Palestina, FuP), Anna Lund Bjørnsen told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “To expel the ambassador from Norway is a clear expression that we do not accept the war crimes and massacre Israel now carries out in Gaza.”

“Israel must stop the collective punishment of the Palestinians and end the bombing of Gaza, the third war against Gaza in five years,” agreed Kathrine Jensen from the Palestine Committee of Norway (Palestinakomiteen i Norge). “Israel is breaking international law by attacking civilian Palestinians and properties there. As a UN member Norway must be decent enough and have the backbone to sanction Israel for this, despite some states’ veto rights in the Security Council.”

Foreign Minister Børge Brende traveled to the Middle East on Tuesday to take part in ceasefire and peace talks between Israel and Hamas. Israel agreed to a ceasefire deal brokered by Egypt on Tuesday morning, but by the afternoon had intensified its attacks on Gaza. Hamas refused to consider any peace deal until Israel lifts the blockade that has surrounded Gaza since 2007, and continued firing rockets towards Israel while the ceasefire agreement was discussed.

The death toll in Palestine reached at least 194 by Tuesday night, while Israel suffered its first fatality of the conflict. “It would be preferable if we could have solved this diplomatically, and that is what we have tried to do when we accepted the offer of a ceasefire from Egypt,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told news service Reuters. “But Hamas gave us no other choice than to expand and intensify the military action.”

“Børge Brende must realize that Israel cannot be talked into peace,” Bjørnsen argued. The Foreign Minister himself was forced to take cover on Wednesday, after several Hamas rockets landed near the restaurant in Ashkelon where he was meeting with Israeli colleague Avigdor Lieberman.

Responsibility to contribute to peace
“I don’t think that is a constructive and serious contribution,” Brende told NRK. “The strength of Norway as the leader of the donor coordination group to Palestine is that we can talk with all parties, and all western European countries have diplomatic relations with Israel.”

“What Norway is now prioritizing is to put in place a ceasefire and a lasting peace solution, so that you end the humanitarian suffering you see in Gaza and the West Bank,” he continued. “That is Norway’s policy and attitude, and it is the broad political agreement of Parliament.”

He added that Israel had a particular responsibility in driving the peace process because its illegal settlements were the key to the conflict. Brende said it was critical that the states brokered a permanent bilateral solution.

Medical and financial aid urged
The Norwegian Directorate of Health (Helsedirektoratet) was asked by the authorities for advice on how Norway could best contribute to the escalating crisis. The directorate recommended sending Norwegian medical personnel, supplies and financial support, reported news bureau NTB on Wednesday. Another alternative was for Norway to receive wounded Palestinians.

Foreign Affairs Ministry communications adviser Astrid Sehl said the government’s first priority is to get help into the Gaza Strip to treat the wounded there. “What we have done in the first place is give NOK 30 million (USD 4.8 million) for humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip,” she said. “The money goes mainly to emergency medical care. We have chosen to channel this to organizations which are operating on the ground. In addition the Norwegian authorities are considering running other assistance, including the input from the directorate.”

The Norwegian Refugee Council’s Secretary General Jan Egeland said providing equipment and assistance in the surrounding area would in the majority of cases be the most effective solution, rather than transporting patients to Norway.

Mads Gilbert and Erik Fosse are two Norwegian doctors working in a Gaza hospital. Gilbert told NTB the shortage of medical supplies was incredibly frustrating, and it was heartbreaking seeing exhausted parents running into the hospital with a wounded child in their arms.

“It is an incredibly difficult situation, here at Shifa hospital as well,” he said. “There are acute shortages of everything form medicines to equipment, from intravenous fluid to needle and threads to sew up the wounded with. The conditions are now at breaking point and Shifa in many ways is becoming run as a field hospital. It should be completely obvious to everyone that the supply lines here must be kept open.” Woodgate

  • ab

    Every rocket the Palestinians fire indiscriminately into an Israeli city is a war crime. Hundreds of war crimes were committed against Israeli citizens.
    Israel hunts down the war criminals in order to stop the rockets.

    • Maybe you forgot to mention that these Hamas rockets did not kill one… NOT ONE… Israeli civilian all year. Since the attack on Gaza only 1 Israeli civilian has died… a 37 year old man who was, coincidently, delivering food to Israeli soldiers.
      Compare that to the carnage Israel has caused on innocent children and defenceless women and it’s easy to see exactly who the war criminals are!!!
      Gaza is a prison. Israeli soldiers are holding them hostage… and you seriously expect these poor people not to fight back???

    • Leonard

      If it’s about the rockets, why are the cowards putting up settlements on Palestinian land? Wake up. It’s never been about “self defense”. These Zionist cowards just want land. They are disgusting enough (demonstrating through their lies & killing) to kill innocent people for a piece of land.

  • Atheist

    Hamas is a terrorists organization, most of the Gaza civilians, will be happy if Hamas will vanished. Hams force children to climb to the roofs when the IDF attack.
    Israel is a Multiethnic nation with people from over 90 different countries living there-in peace. In Palestine, Hamas using Palestinians as human shields. Why
    people over the world supporting them? Radical Islamic Palestinians trying to
    murder Israelis every they, unfortunately many Israelis killed by them,
    children and adults. They shooting rockets all the day on Israel, sending
    suicide bombers, and stabbing citizens in the streets, throwing stones and
    demolition charge. if you don’t live in the middle east, first go visit there
    and read the History!

  • frenk

    They certainly need to ‘re-consider’ their actions…the Palestinians….continuously firing missiles at Israel is only going to provoke further action against them. Do they have to do this…and what do they believe they will ‘gain’ from this?

  • peaceplease

    But its Palestinian land!!!
    Zionists have gone in and snatched the land from the Palestinians.
    Would you like a stranger to come to your home and take it?
    So how can you allow such a holocaust against the people of Palestine!?

    • Mary

      Israel is not Palestinian land. Even the Palestinians know that. Instead of building Gaza – Palestinian land, they destroy themselves.

      • inquisitor

        You need help Mary…there are medications.

  • BobBobbyBobertsen

    Call people terrorists, dehumanize all who identify with them, and then you’re free to do absolutely anything you want while washing your hands of any moral responsibility. Must be nice for you. It wasn’t nice when it was done to you by Germans, the Jewish resistance was also branded “terrorist” in WWII Germany, but history knows who the real terrorists were, and it didn’t turn out too well for them in the end. Israel is putting itself on a very dangerous path, while its extremists chant “death to Arabs” with impunity.

  • Farid Samara

    It’s amazing how current media is making us more ignorant rather than enriching our understanding – i meant no offence for you – you are treating the current event as a single event in history without any correlation to previous events and the overall picture. that exactly what media and propagandas want you to think! those rockets came out from nowhere ha? they are not meant to resist the current state of dehumanised Gaza! arrests, blockage, control of every aspect of life! this is a systematic dehumanisation and a big denial of human rights! why? same reason as why Nazis put Jews in ghettos, it’s convenient way to control them! Israel betrayed history by learning the wrong lessons! they are creating the biggest open air prison on earth. if you don’t believe me then refer to the International Law or to the UN; they still define Gaza as occupied even though the Israeli withdrawal several years ago!! but maybe i’m crazy, what i’m saying? they are terrorist! they fire rockets, propaganda confirm that!

  • Nite_Fox

    you are not dealing with human being here. these are paid trolls who are paid by how many stinking comments they post online. there is a big propaganda war going on online. and they (IDF) are spending a lot of money on it. they don’t realize it only makes them more disgusting and inhumane.

    just look at the comments on this page. they all have the same talking point. Hamas is responsible bluh bluh what about the IDF abuse that has being going on for half a century now.

  • Leonard

    Israel protect citizens? What a joke. An offensive move is not defense. Israeli pigs are defending citizens from the Palestinians that they are occupying? You must be watching Fox News. Hamas is just a group of citizens too, who are resisting the occupation. Not everyone like the US bends over for Israel.